Cardamom + Carrots = Cupcakes? Oh Indeed...Read On

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meet my friend Christa:

Christa's an avid baker. I admire bakers pretty much because I can't bake. I'm a Scone To Crumble kind of gal. And it's not because I don't like to bake. I very much do. I just am simply not good at it. I lack the precision. Let's face it - I lack the bloody patience.

That said, occasionally I'll find a recipe that I must try. It will haunt my brain until I finally get the ingredients, make the baked yummies, and then fix myself a hot cup of tea or coffee and enjoy. Christa sent me such a recipe from Simply Recipes for a classic carrot cake updated with spices of the east. And I love that. These carrot cupcakes are easy to make but with the addition of a cinnamon-cardamom combination (yay cardamom!) and sweet fragrant organge zest, this recipe hits it out of the park. It's sweet, it's spicy, and gives you a much tastier option to use up that massive bag of carrots.

Christa's tip is to add a "handful" of raisins to the second batch of cupcakes to appease the pro/anti-raisin populace. I do this often with nuts as well. This basically means to cut your main batter in half, and if you have people who don't dig the nuts or raisins (or whatever else you're adding) then make the first batch without and then throw in the ingredients with the second batch, give it a quick mix, then go ahead an fill your tins and bake away.
And without further adieu, the recipe:

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 lb carrots
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup of regular milk + 1 tsp lemon juice, let stand for 10 min)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp orange zest
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins (optional)
cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast walnuts in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
Peel, rinse and grate the carrots. Place the grated carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, sugar and orange zest in a bowl and whisk together to combine.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom and cinnamon and whisk to combine.
Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the walnuts (and raisins if using).
Scoop batter into paper-lined cupcake trays and fill about 1/2-3/4 of the way full. Bake in oven for 19-21 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let stand to cool in baking trays 5 minutes before removing, then let finish cooling on a wire rack before frosting.
Makes 24 cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter
16 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1.5 cups powdered sugar
Cream the butter and cream cheese together, then add the sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy.


Anonymous said...

This sounds sooo good, I have to go to the store and get some carrots, and orange and cream cheese. Probably will use Mascarpone (Italian cream cheese).

Amanda Ebner said...

OMG delicious...cardamom needs to get top billing more often, I say. :)